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Design and Development of Constant Stress Composite Cantilever Beam

Authors: Vinod B. Suryawanshi, Ajit D. Kelkar


Composite materials, due to their unique properties such as high strength to weight ratio, corrosion resistance, and impact resistance have huge potential as structural materials in automotive, construction and transportation applications. However, these properties often come at higher cost owing to complex design methods, difficult manufacturing processes and raw material cost. Traditionally, tapered laminated composite structures are manufactured using autoclave manufacturing process by ply drop off technique. Autoclave manufacturing though very powerful suffers from high capital investment and higher energy consumption. As per the current trends in composite manufacturing, Out of Autoclave (OoA) processes are looked as emerging technologies for manufacturing the structural composite components for aerospace and defense applications. However, there is a need for improvement among these processes to make them reliable and consistent. In this paper, feasibility of using out of autoclave process to manufacture the variable thickness cantilever beam is discussed. The minimum weight design for the composite beam is obtained using constant stress beam concept by tailoring the thickness of the beam. Ply drop off techniques was used to fabricate the variable thickness beam from glass/epoxy prepregs. Experiments were conducted to measure bending stresses along the span of the cantilever beam at different intervals by applying the concentrated load at the free end. Experimental results showed that the stresses in the bean at different intervals were constant. This proves the ability of OoA process to manufacture the constant stress beam. Finite element model for the constant stress beam was developed using commercial finite element simulation software. It was observed that the simulation results agreed very well with the experimental results and thus validated design and manufacturing approach used.

Keywords: Beams, Composites, Constant Stress, Structures.

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